Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New transfer schedule

Today we were able to go to a district meeting in the Bow River Zone, and it is just so refreshing to be with these awesome missionaries.  They all looked great-so sharp!  And there was great training from them and good discussion.  We are just so proud of them and their desires to serve and find people to share the gospel with.  It is a wonderful experience to be serving with so many amazing young single adults who just want to share with people what has brought them so much happiness in their lives.
Last week we held our New Trainers meeting on Friday for the missionaries that will be training the new missionaries arriving tomorrow!  We only have 6 coming in, and we have 3 leaving...so small numbers both ways!  We are actually going to the temple with our departing missionaries in about an hour.  This is the first month where our transfer schedule is a little reversed.  In the past our missionaries coming from the MTC arrive on Tuesday afternoon, and our departing missionaries go home Friday morning.  Now, the departing ones leaves Wednesday morning, and the arriving ones come in Wednesday afternoon!  So, tomorrow will be a very busy day!  Hellos and goodbyes all in one day!  We are actually glad that our numbers are small this time while we work through this new schedule and work out all the bugs in it before we have huge numbers in the summer.
We are also grateful that our weather has warmed up!  It's still Calgary weather--meaning it can be about 10 or 11 (celsius) which is about 50 Fahrenheit, and then it can drop down to 1 or 2.  But anything is better than -17!  We can even see all of the grass on our front lawn!  We have never been so excited for spring as we have been this year!
All the snow is melted in our front yard!!

Celebrating Elder Jewkes' birthday at the New Trainers Meeting.

Lunch with our new trainers (& a few extras!)

Love getting hand written letters from my grandsons in the  mail!

District meeting with Elder Barrus, Sisters Hatch, Bodily, Willis, Moss and Elder Manarii

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Always busy!

I've beens so busy I haven't had time to write...but what a great week and a half we've had.  After our zone conferences in Lethbridge we stayed there to participate in the Lethbridge Stake Conference.  It was a great stake conference and we were asked to speak in both the Saturday evening session and the Sunday morning session.  That's kind of unusual--it's usually one or the other!  And Steve also spoke in the priesthood leadership session.  It was a great conference, and on Saturday evening we were able to stay overnight with President and Sister MacLennan--and they treated us like a king and queen!  Belgian waffles for breakfast, and salmon for lunch after the conference!  We're used to having a banana and a little protein drink at the hotel--so we felt like we were royalty!  We have so enjoyed our friendships with the stake presidents and their wives.  It's just one of the great perks of service in the church--all the friends that you make!
After that conference we drove to BC so we could do their interviews Monday evening and their zone conference on Tuesday.  Our BC zone only has 12 missionaries and that includes our senior couple, the Eberts.  So, it is a cozy little zone conference, but it was so good and we love our missionaries there.  We actually took them for pizza on Monday night before interviews, which was fun.  They are so isolated out there that we felt we could do something a little fun with them!
We then drove back to Calgary to complete 3 more days of interviews and wind them up.  On Friday we held our 'retrainers' meeting for 10 new missionaries and their trainers.  It was such a good meeting.  We changed it up a bit, and the change was good.  Our assistants did a fantastic job training on how to use and study Preach my Gospel more effectively.  Steve also spoke on having faith in the Savior and having faith in the work.  I trained on How to get our investigators to attend sacrament meeting.  We had a lot of discussion and interaction and it was just a great meeting.  Then we had a little lunch together here at the mission home and sent them on their way.
This past week was also a little sad for us because we had to say good-by to Elder and Sister Peppinger, one of our senior office couples.  Their 18 months were up (they actually stayed on 1 extra month to help us out).  We will miss them terribly!  They have been true examples of Christlike service.  I have never met people more willing to serve and do not only what was asked, but they always looked to see what else they could do.  They always went the extra mile.  They have blessed our mission immensely and will be sorely missed. Senior couples are the most amazing people.  We love all of ours!
Saturday was Steve's birthday so we got up and exercised and then I took him out for a brunch at a fun restaurant down in Fish Creek Provincial Park.  We had eggs benedict and stuffed french toast!  Talk about good! All of our kids FaceTimed us with the grandsons, and it was fun to talk with each of them.   Then we came home and studied and prepared for another stake conference in Lethbridge.  At 4:30 we drove down there to participate in the Lethbridge East Stake conference under the direction of President Stewart.  It was such a great conference.  We love President Stewart, he is also the doctor I use a lot down in Lethbridge, and he has been such a great help to me in so many medical situations.  But, he is an even more fantastic  stake president.
We had a very quick bite of lunch at his counselor's home and left by 1:00 to get back to Calgary to meet with our assistants.  Steve did their interviews and then met with them on some things and they stayed for dinner with us.  They both came in sporting slippers, because every Sunday when they come I always have my slippers on!  And my hoodie over my nice Sunday clothes.  I take off my nice jackets when I cook so I don't spill on them, and I always pull on this blue hoodie over whatever top I'm wearing--it never matches, but I don't care if I spill on it!  So, I always look kind of silly when they come.  So, we got a laugh out of them in their slippers.  They are wonderful missionaries and we appreciate all they do, and their great enthusiasm and examples.
We love our missionaries.  Our zone conferences just reminded us once again of how incredible they are.  We are so thankful to be involved in this work with them.  We love to see their faith grow and how much they love the Savior.
Tonight we had the youth from the Shepard ward come to the mission home for a little fireside.  We had Sisters Moss and Willis teach them the first discussion and then do a little question and answer session with them.  It was a fun night for them.
This week we will prepare for transfers, so it will be another busy week.  Don't I say that every time I write?  I think so!  All the weeks are busy!  I am grateful for the enabling power of the atonement, because it strengthens me to to do things I could never do on my own.
P.S. We are finally getting some warmer weather!  I took off my boots for the first time this weekend!
We finally spotted some moose!

BC zone conference-sack lunch time!

Retrainers lunch!

Sister Meiners, me & Sister Williams-sporting our  green on St. Patty's day!

Happy Birthday Banner from Sisters Lane & Taylor

Elder Stringam, me & Elder Assily sporting our slippers!  And me in my blue 'cooking hoodie!'

The Shepard Ward youth--& Sisters Moss and Willis in the middle.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Last zone conference of the week!

Today was our last zone conference down south--for the Lethbridge and Cardston zones.  Yesterday we held the Lethbridge East and Medicine Hat zone conferences.  They were all sooo good!  These missionaries are so amazing.  We just love them.  We are inspired after each conference.  We are staying in Lethbridge this weekend to participate in the Lethbridge Stake Conference, and once that is over we will head out to Cranbrook in BC to do their zone conference.  It's been a great week!

Enjoying their sack lunches!

Me with all the missionaries from the Cardston & Lethbridge zones!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

More zone conferences!

Our zone conferences are continuing, and each one is just wonderful with such a great spirit.  They really lift us as we listen to our missionaries teach and share their insights!
And bringing their own lunches hasn't been too bad either!
Enjoying sack lunches at zone conference!

Calgary North, West and Central zones

Elders Lee and Jones showing off their triple decker chicken salad sandwiches!

Lunch with the Lethbridge East and Medicine Hat Zones

We've laughed at the variety of foods-  oreos, carrots, PB & J!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Interviews and Zone Conferences

So, before I tell some of the things we have been doing, I just need to let you know that I have worn nothing but boots for at least the last 4 months!  No, nothing but boots!  We have had a true Canadian winter, and it is still going!  We had snow over the weekend, and cold!  Tomorrow is supposed to dip to -17!  We are so ready for spring--but we are going to have to endure more cold!
  Last week we continued on with our interviews, and on Saturday we drove to Medicine Hat which is 3 hours southeast of Calgary.  On the way down we interviewed two sisters and two elders in different cities, and then the rest of the zone in Medicine Hat.  Then that night we attended the Medicine Hat stake conference, where Elder Rulon F. Stacey of the Seventy was presiding.  We have been with Elder Stacey on other stake conferences, and really enjoy being able to be with him.  On Sunday morning we spoke in the stake conference and then President Salmon and his wife had invited us over for lunch before heading back to Calgary.  The Stake Presidents we are able to associate and work with are so wonderful.  We really enjoy all of them, and their wives!  We feel like we have made all of these new friends!
Today we began our zone conferences, and we are always a little anxious for the first one, even though we have prayed and pondered and planned, and then prayed and pondered and planned some more!  But it went so well!  There was really an outpouring of the spirit.  Steve always begins the conferences teaching them, and he gives such great messages.  Today he shared thoughts out of 3 Nephi when the Savior was teaching the Nephites and teaching them to go back to their homes and ponder on the things he had taught them.  It was really good.  We then had discussions on working with youth and young single adults, we practiced and role played teaching one of our investigators one of the first 3 lessons, we discussed 'talking with everyone' and being able to share brief summaries of the restored gospel.  We also played our usual question and answer game (with candy bars being the prize!)  But the concluding (and best) part was our discussion on a talk we had all studied by Elder Neal A. Maxwell on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I wish you could hear the insights these missionaries have as they discuss the atonement and how it has changed them, and continues to change them.  It is so inspiring!  We then ended with an incredible testimony meeting--which is the highlight.  If you want to feel the spirit, just attend a missionary testimony meeting.  It really is so cool!
We are also doing something for these zone conferences we have never done--we are having the missionaries bring sack lunches instead of asking a Relief Society to feed them.  We did it this time because of the big Relief Society birthday celebrations going on throughout the wards.  We didn't want to overwhelm them, so we decided we could just bring our own.  It was really pretty fun!  So, I will be posting pictures of the 'sack lunch zone conference'!  It was great!
Check out the jar of peanut butter there!

You should have seen the variety of foods!

I think I packed Steve and I a pretty good lunch!  He had a sandwich, and I had cottage cheese and a salad!

We had the Fish Creek, Bow River, Confederation Park, & Foothills zones today.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Interviews and baptisms!

We have been continuing on with our interviews with each zone since last week and they have kept us really busy.  We were in Lethbridge from Monday night to Thursday last week, and on Friday we drove to Magrath and Cardston for interviews, then we drove clear over to Taber to attend the baptism of Darlene Heinitz.  It was a wonderful baptism--I just can't tell you how special it is to see someone embrace the gospel and feel the love of their Heavenly Father and Savior and choose to be baptized into their church.  I was so proud of our elders, Elder Dredge and Elder Rodriguez, that taught her.  Elder Dredge also performed the baptism and Elder Rodriguez gave an amazing talk on baptism and the Holy Ghost.  It was great.  From there we drove to Fort Macleod to interview our sisters there, and then to Champion for Steve to do a baptismal interview for someone our elders were teaching there. We have never been to Champion, and it was such a dark night we couldn't really even tell what it was like there- but we found the church! After the interview we then we headed back to Calgary and got home about 11:00 that night.
Saturday we began preparing for our zone conferences to be held next week and we also attended the baptism of Katrina and Jen Sparling.  This was also very special because the sister missionaries had actually taught them in our home a couple of times.  So, it was so neat to see them progress and choose to be baptized.  And to see a mom and her daughter--it was just so sweet!  This gospel truly does change people's lives.  When people learn that they can repent, and be forgiven of sins that have bothered them and plagued them for years, it is so incredible.  To see them feel peace and joy that they didn't think possible is nothing less than a miracle.  I am so grateful for our Savior and His atoning sacrifice for each one of us.  It is difficult to comprehend HOW He did it, but I know WHY He did it and it is because of His great love for each of us.  If He hadn't gone through with the atonement, we would have no chance of returning to live with our Heavenly Father again. We would have no way to repent and change and be rid of the burden of sin, and the weight it carries.  I am so grateful for what He did for me.  I am so grateful for this knowledge.  I wish everyone knew it!  One of the discouraging things on our mission is to see how hard our missionaries work to find people to share this wonderful message with, and how difficult it is to find them!  It is really a test of their faith.  But we love their dedication and their righteous desires, and their resiliency!  They keep getting up and going out, even when it is so tough!  We are so proud of them.
In Cardston we stopped by with Elders Harrison and Whicker to see Kevin Shipley-our friend we met at the
very first of our mission.  

The baptism of Katrina and Jen Sparling.